Economic sanctions were lifted from Iran in 2015 over allegations that they were trying to build nuclear weapons. The claim was facetious given that the accusation had been made for a decade with the claim that weapons-grade uranium would be available in only a few months. Those sanctions have begun to be scaled back in early 2016 as part of a deal promising not to develop nuclear technology.
Off the bat, Paris and Tehran quickly made mutually beneficial deals. Firstly, Iran purchased Airbus commercial jets and allowed French automaker, Peugeot, back into the Iranian market. Meanwhile, French energy giant Total agreed to purchase Iranian crude oil.
Total is a major powerhouse in the energy industry. It’s one of the seven “Supermajor” oil companies. It has its own entire oil and gas chain, from crude oil and natural gas exploration and production to power generation, transportation, refining, petroleum product marketing, and international crude oil and product trading.
Now that the rest of the sanctions have been lifted, a new deal between France and Tehran has been signed. Total has made a multibillion-dollar agreement to help develop the South Pars gas field, which has the largest known reserve, about 51 trillion cubic meters. The deal struck with the National Iranian Oil company is the largest Western investment in Iran since the nuclear deal was reached in 2015.
What we see is two very different paths being taken towards Iran. As France is seeking mutually beneficial economic cooperation, the United States is seeking hostility and threatening war. Instead of coming to some kind of deal for Iran’s energy resources, the US demands total control over them as they have with Iraq, Libya, and now Syria. The problem is that Iran is much more heavily developed than their neighbours who have fallen to war. The US does not want cooperation, they want domination.
To make such a demand of Iran is an insult to their dignity as a country. The US has no inherent right to the wealth of any country but their own.
Now that that the sanctions have been scaled back and France has begun investment their energy sector, the US has begun fabricating new accusations against them. The US has come out with allegations that Iran is involved in terrorism connected to Daesh (ISIS). This is laughable in the fact of the fact that Iran has been a victim of the group quite recently. The US has also accused Tehran of helping the Syrian government kill its own people, another accusation which is completely false. Iran has done nothing but support the legitimate leadership of the country and strike against Daesh camps. In doing so, they’ve been developing their own ballistic missile system.
As France was negotiating this major deal with Tehran, the US began accusing them of nuclear weapon development again. As soon as one set of sanctions is removed the US immediately looks for a justification to enforce more of them. As if this nonsense wasn’t enough, Iran was placed on a Muslim ban (claimed to be a travel ban) which is nothing less than an insult.
US companies, particularly energy companies, are chomping at the bit to get into the Iranian market. There is a great potential for profit making that Total is tapping right now. Boeing desperately wants into the Iranian market, which has been making large purchases as of late. Just last year they signed a deal with the state airline company, Iran Air, for about 100 Boeing aircraft. Another deal is in the works to sell 30 737 MAX aircraft to Aseman Airlines for $3 billion. Boeing is worried about new sanctions coming into place before the deal is finalised. It seems to be in great jeopardy given US President Donald Trump’s “America first” policy.
These are profit making opportunities that have been lost to international rivals of US companies. Boeing may lose out big time to a major competitor Airbus. When the deal with Total was being negotiated, the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made new accusations against Iran. It is no coincidence that Tillerson was chairman and chief executive officer of ExxonMobil from 2006 to 2016. ExxonMobil is a major competitor of Total and has been struggling to break into the Iranian energy market.
The path of hostility by the US is doing them no favours. They are unable to get what they want, the blood of the Iranian people via their natural resources and markets. France, by contrast, instead of seeking imperialist domination has agreed to deals that will benefit both sides. Two very different paths are being taken. One of peace and cooperation, the other of war and theft.
Who is it that is interfering in the affairs of the Middle East causing great concern and threatening a new world war? Is it France’s fair deal making? No, it is the US’s drive for total imperialist domination over the region. As long as US imperialism is allowed to flourish, there can never be peace and freedom.